I recently invited everyone to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White together.
Feel free to grab a copy of the book and join in at anytime! So far, the following has been covered:
- First Discussion: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an
- Chapter 1a: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an
- Chapter 1b: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by Ken Temple
Today’s post covers chapter 2 “The Qur’an: A Brief Introduction.”
The chapter begins by explaining how the Qur’an is laid out helpfully using Bible for comparison. For example:
“The Qur’an is just over half the length of the New Testament and about one-fifth as long as the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). It contains 114 surat, roughly equivalent to the concept of a chapter, divided into ayat of varying lengths, roughly equivalent to verses” (Kindle Locations 607-612).
What some readers may not know is the Qur’an is not laid out in chronological or topical order, but by the size of each surat. Since the Qur’an was written over a 22 year period, readers will jump around throughout the book to various points in Muhammad’s life. This organization of the Qur’an would create difficultly understanding the book for those not familiar with the lay-out.
Dr. White offers that the “non-expert reader” use the tafsir, or method of interpretation, which is based on the hadith. Hadith is hadith is basically a record of the sayings or actions of Muhammad. White also offers a helpful chart to help read the Qur’an chronologically.
Finally, I’ll note a few points of belief about the Qur’an. The majority view is that it is and uncreated book directly from Allah. Muhammad does not appear in the Qur’an. The Islamic holy book only exists in Arabic and is not translatable even though most Muslims depend on translations. Most of Islam holds that one who believes the Qur’an is created is a condemned unbeliever.
White addresses some of the issues more fully in chapter 2 later in the book. This brief chapter certainly shines light on why Christians, and Westerners in general, may have problems understanding Islam and its holy book.
Here I blog…
P.S. And your thoughts?